Nighttime Blue Light Exposure and Breast Cancer
The purpose of this article is to provide background information and the current understanding of a less familiar cause of female breast cancer; exposure to ultraviolet light at night. Breast cancer is a common disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality in women. There are several risk factors for breast cancer, most of which are genetic and environmental in nature. An often-overlooked risk factor is exposure to blue light during night shift work, which decreases melatonin production. One of the many cancer-preventing properties of melatonin is to limit estrogen production. Increased lifetime exposure to estrogen is a well-known cause of breast cancer. Awareness of nighttime blue light exposure as a breast cancer risk factor by women doing night shift work and those exposed to nighttime light via smartphones and laptops, is essential information to know so that protective measures can be taken.